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Hilco Survey: Retail Execs Expect Topline Holiday Sales to Shine

December 02, 2014, 08:02 AM
Filed Under: Retail

Despite slower traffic and softer retail sales this past weekend - the official kick-off to the holiday shopping season - 82 percent of top executives are still expecting topline sales this holiday shopping season to be the best in years, according to the newly released 2014 Retail Executive Survey – Holiday Trends Report, conducted by the Hilco Global Retail Group and its independent Hilco Retail Board of Advisors. The survey also identified specific strategies retailers are implementing looking into 2015, such as enhancing the in-store shopping experience, expanding online, digital and social media initiatives and more. The survey gleaned perspectives and opinions from C-Suite executives at some of the world's leading retail companies with sales of $250 million or more, and indicated optimism for year-over-year sales gains this holiday season.

Holiday sales have steadily increased each year since the Great Recession of 2008, with the average annual sales gain at 2.9%. This year, the National Retail Federation (NRF) and the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) are both looking for the first 4% holiday sales gain since 2011, a view also validated by this new survey.

According to this new survey, the strongest growth in retailing this season will come in four sectors – department stores, apparel stores, consumer electronics/mobile devices and health, beauty and personal care stores.

Despite the optimistic outlook for the 2014 holiday shopping season, the C- Suite retail executives in the survey also voiced a number of concerns. "While the C-Suite respondents predict better overall sales results compared to the last several years, they remain apprehensive about the stability of the industry as a whole, in particular the brick and mortar channel," said Antony Karabus, CEO of HRC Advisory, the retail consulting unit of Hilco Global. "Although the US economy has shown improvement, retailers are leaving little to chance, inspiring many to put specific strategies and tactical plans in place to protect market share now and in 2015, which include discounting, improving the in-store experience and enhancing digital, social media and online activity," added Karabus.

Over two thirds of the executives surveyed ranked their top five significant challenges for this year's holiday season as:

  1. Addressing fierce competitive threats (78%)
  2. A weaker than anticipated economy (75%)
  3. The impact of deep discounting on profit margin (75%)
  4. Continued erosion of in-store sales to online channel (61%)
  5. Ordering and maintaining correct inventory levels (55%)

To view more results of the survey, click here.

Headquartered in the Chicago area, the Hilco Global Retail Group specializes in providing financial and operational services to retailers and the companies that support them, including lenders, equity investors and investments bankers. Core competencies include asset valuation, monetization and advisory services, which are provided by specialized business units.

Through these specialized business units serving retail clients, Hilco Global provides a range of integrated solutions including asset appraisal, inventory acquisition and disposition, real estate repositioning and renegotiation, strategic advisory and operational consulting and strategic capital equity investments.

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